A messy desk and home office, with papers in piles on any flat surface available, sends the message that the occupant is disorganized, and doesn’t know what is going on. A clean, neat office indicates a person who is in control and responsible.
The most common reason papers are left in piles on the desk and other flat surfaces is because there is still some action to be taken – some uncompleted task, or you don’t want to forget to do something.
These documents can go into a follow-up system. What is a follow-up system, and how do you use it? A follow-up system is a place to keep all documents needing further action at some date other than today.
Examples of this are:
- Correspondence to which you are awaiting a response.
- A task you cannot complete until receiving additional information.
- Confirmations for seminars or workshops which take place weeks or months from now.
- Airline tickets, hotel and rental car confirmations for a future trip.
- Tasks to be undertaken, but not today.
There are many more, but you get the gist of it.
How to Organize Your Home Office
Setting up a follow-up system is very simple. There are basically two methods, so pick the one that works best for you.
1. Office supply stores stock an “Every Day File and Fast Sorter” 1-31 by Globe-Weis or Smead. The numbers represent the days of the month. It is a 10×12 flat sorter which can lay on the corner of your desk, or
2. Label file folders from 1-31 for the days of the month. Locate in a file drawer within arms reach of your desktop.
How to Organize Papers on Your Desk
Now that you are set up, there are only two things for you to do with those piles of papers on your desk.
1. Make a decision when you want to take action on each one. Mark the upper right corner with that date – month and day – and file it in your follow-up file.
2. Check your follow-up file every day and take out those documents you have already decided you will take action on that day.
After you have worked through all the accumulated piles of papers and continue processing them with this system, you will be surprised to find that there will be very few documents to take out on any given day. Continue putting papers in this system throughout each day, so keep it handy.
There may be other papers laying around that just need to be filed. Some others may require your immediate attention, or can be passed on to others for them to take action.
Once you have cleaned up these piles of papers, your office will look professional and send the message that you are in control of your business.
Recommended Books on Setting Up Your Home Office:
- The Smarter Home Office: 8 simple steps to increase your income, inspiration and comfort
- Building the Custom Home Office: Projects for the Complete Home Work Space
- At Work At Home: Design Ideas for Your Home Workplace
- A Space of My Own: Inspirational Ideas for Home Offices, Craft Rooms Studies
- Taunton’s Home Workspace Idea Book (Taunton Home Idea Books)
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